Many of us spend hours of our day scrolling on our phones, typing away at our laptops and playing video games. Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by repetitive movement of the wrist with little to no variation. The repetition of typing, scrolling, or button mashing can cause inflammation of the carpal tunnel and compression or squeezing of your median nerve.
This causes pain that radiates up your arm, numbness and tingling in the fingers and hands, hand and arm weakness, and even nerve damage. The pain can be quite excruciating and may affect your ability to work. In bad cases, it can even affect your sleep.
Now that more people are working from home, the condition is becoming more prevalent as home workspace setups aren’t as ergonomic. Here are a few ways to reduce your risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome:
Positioning and alignment
It’s important to be aware of your posture and how you use your hands during the day. The middle of your keyboard and monitor should be squarely in front of you and you should hold your elbows close to your sides and avoid leaning your weight into your hands when typing.
When it comes to preventing carpal tunnel syndrome, the alignment of your wrists and forearms is crucial. If possible, position your keyboard so that your forearms are parallel to the floor. Ideally, you should aim to type with your wrists and forearms in the same plane. Be sure to keep your wrist neutral when using a computer mouse and avoid curling your wrist upward or downward.
Exercising and stretching your wrist and fingers
Stretch your wrists on a regular basis. Flex them back and forth, and shake them briskly to ensure proper circulation. Holding your fingers wide open for a few seconds and then relaxing them will also help.
You can also try making a fist and then stretching your fingers out as far as possible.To maintain circulation it’s also important to keep your hands warm. Cold hands can increase stiffness and the likelihood of developing carpal tunnel syndrome.
Take regular breaks
When you work at a desk and are immersed in a project, it’s easy to lose track of time. It’s also easy to get caught up in quests and advancing to the next level when gaming. Set a timer on your phone to remind yourself to take a break at least once an hour. It’s also important to get up, walk around and stretch at regular intervals.
These three simple steps should allow you to work or play video games more ergonomically. They will help to prevent the onset of carpal tunnel syndrome and ease symptoms if you suffer from wrist and arm pain.
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